The kind of reader who can recite passages from her favourite books and who makes pilgrimages to the birthplaces of famous writers.
The kind of reader who knows all of the top names in the book world, owns signed copies of notable books and can recite the upcoming publishing dates of all the potential award-winners.
The kind of reader who always has several books on the go at the same time, and never confuses any of their characters or plots. (Note: These books would, at first, be neatly stacked beside my bed, and then, once read, filed away in the bookcases of my extensive library, complete with rolling ladder.)
But alas, I am not that kind of reader. I often go through stretches where I don't read any books at all. My books look the same before and after I've read them. I have no idea who the top publishers are. I've never heard of many current authors, and if I have I usually don't know what they've written. I sometimes choose books based on their cover artwork, and I usually donate them once I've read them. I mix up the names of famous writers, and I've never read many of the classics. All in all, I am much more slapdash in my approach to reading than I feel I "should" be.
I'm not cut out for book clubs. I don't like being told what to read, and when. I have a hard time describing what I like and don't like about things I've read - I tend to use my gut reaction as my compass. I read big, blockbuster books years after they are first published, if at all, and sometimes I read obscure books that few others would be interested in. I forget characters and plot lines soon after I've finished a book, and sometimes, even as I'm reading.
And I'm starting to see that that's okay. There is no one way to be an avid reader. What and how I choose to read are entirely my prerogative. There are no rules. I can read what, how and when I want, and that is a glorious freedom. From now on, I'm going to stop thinking so much about the reader I would like to be and just be the reader I am.